November 18th 2015

MM&P licensed deck officers were among those recognized for heroism Nov. 13 at the prestigious United Seamen’s Service Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) awards ceremony in New York City.

On behalf of the officers and crew of the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry MV MALASPINA, Captain Scott Macaulay and Chief Mate Dave Turner accepted the Honored Seafarers’ Plaque for the rescue of a fisherman from a boat that sank off British Columbia in the early morning hours of Oct. 18, 2014. Macaulay, Turner and the other licensed deck officers employed by the Alaska Marine Highway System are members of the MM&P United Inland Group-Pacific Maritime Region (UIG-PMR).

Captain James White accepted the Honored Seafarers’ Plaque on behalf of the officers and crew of the Military Sealift Command vessel USNS MCLEAN for the rescue of two people aboard the sailboat SOLARUS on May 14 of this year. White is a member of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG), which represents all the licensed deck officers aboard the vessel.

The awards were presented by Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command, and Ed Morgan, president of United Seamen’s Service. MM&P President Don Marcus, UIG Vice President Mike Murray and FEMG Vice President Randall Rockwood were on hand to congratulate the awardees. “It’s an honor and a privilege to attend an event that specifically recognizes the heroism of merchant mariners,” Rockwood said.

Recipients of the AOTOS awards for leadership in the U.S.-flag maritime industry were Matthew J. Cox, president and chief executive officer of long-time MM&P employer Matson, Anthony A. Chiarello of TOTE and James C. McKenna of the Pacific Maritime Association.

Cox said he was accepting the award “on behalf of Matson customers, unions and employees, and U.S.-flag ships, proudly crewed by U.S.-citizen mariners, who I consider to be the best in the world.” During his remarks, he repeatedly recognized as fundamental to the company’s success “the hard work and professionalism” of the entire Matson management team.

The keynote speech was given by Gen. Darren McDew, head of U.S. Transcom. McDew assumed the reins of the powerful military transport organization in August. He used his speech to underline the critical role played by America’s mariners in our nation’s sealift capability and to urge that sufficient resources be devoted to keeping the U.S.-flag fleet at its requisite levels.

“It gives me pause that we are below the needed 60 ships in the Military Sealift Program (MSP) that would be required to get our army to the next fight,” he said. “The world is not getting any safer.”

Speaking to the audience of U.S.-flag mariners and ship operators, he added, “You represent our ability to achieve our national objectives. I just want you to know how much I value you, who you are and what you do.”

“Our MSP is a bargain for this country no matter what the [per-ship] stipend is,” said MSC Commander Shannon, “and in my opinion, it should be higher.”

The evening concluded with a solemn remembrance of the crew of the EL FARO. Anthony Chiarello, chairman of TOTE, which operated the EL FARO, dedicated the award to the 33 men and women who lost their lives when the vessel sank in October.

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